The recommended treatment for lymphoedema is Complex Lymphoedema Therapy (CLT).
CLT is sometimes also known as DLT - Degongestive Lymphatic Therapy, Complex Physical Therapy (CPT) or Complex Decongestive therapy (CDT).
Treatment for lymphoedema, although not a cure, helps control the symptoms of swelling, skin changes and functional impairment. Lymphoedema treatment is ongoing in order to maintain the gains in the affected area in the best possible way. Although it takes time and effort, lymphoedema treatment can be used to effectively control your lymphoedema and maintain a good quality of life.
There are four components to CLT:
Phases of Lymphoedema Treatment
Phase I - Intensive Lymphoedema Treatment
All the components of CLT are employed - Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD, including PhysioTouch therapy) to enhance lymph flow, preceding application of multi-layer compression bandaging or the prescription of an adjustable decongestive garment. Skin care to optimise the condition of the skin, reverse skin changes and treat infections .Exercises to increase lymphatic and venous flow.
Psychosocial support and education is incorporated throughout intensive lymphoedema treatement to ensure that you understands your condition and all parts of the treatment.
A compression garment is prescribed following successful reduction, returning the limb to as normal a shape and size as possible. This is essential to preserve the reduction achieved by lymphoedema treatment and to help prevent progression of the lymphoedema.
At this stage your Oedema Clinic physiotherapist will ensure that you are empowered and well on your way to succeed the next phase.
Phase II - Maintenance Lymphoedema Treatment & Self-Management
Knowledge and self-management become empowering tools to maintain the results achieved in Phase I. You still may need to see your Oedema Clinc physiotherapist on a regular basis for ongoing therapy and education to support your active involvement ensuring the successful outcomes of treatment are sustained.
The routine adopted will vary from person to person and generally includes daily skin care and prevention of infection, regular self massage, exercises and the wearing of the prescribed compression garment/s. You will be encouraged to practice self monitoring and adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes attention to diet, fitness and weight management.
Ongong lymphoedema treatment is offered in a modified form to accommodate individual requirements.
PhysioTouch for Lymphoedema Treatment
The PhysioTouch is a device that uses negative pressure (suction), pulsation and mechanical vibration; three extremely beneficial techniques to enhance the body's lymphatic system to remove fluid from the lymphoedematous limb, or area, and breakdown fibrosis. Oedema Clinics physiotherapists use PhysioTouch in conjunction with other manual techniques as part of MLD (Manual Lymphatic Drainage) often with remarkable results. Fibrosis softening and volume reduction differ in every person, as with other forms of lymphoedema treatment: results are individual.
The settings and application techniques can be customised to treat all individuals offering a gentle effective lymphoedema treatment that often cannot be achieved by using hands alone.